By: Gašper Blažič
Perhaps the statement I will write will (justifiably) annoy someone, but still: with the recent events in Afghanistan, many illegal migrants from this country (well, at least those who enter Slovenian territory) have received at least a silent apology for their migrant march. And statistics also show that there are very many Afghans and they represent a large proportion by country of origin. By this, of course, I do not want to justify illegal migration, because I believe that I can count as refugees that category of people who withdraw from danger to the nearest safe country. Which still sounds cold and bureaucratic, far from the plight of the people who in this case are really saving a bare life from the “liberators” who otherwise promise milk and honey but actually bring embezzlement.
The situation in Afghanistan, especially the shocking footage from Kabul airport, from where many people wanted to flee the country, these days reminds me strongly of May 1945 in Slovenia. Well, Afghanistan has also experienced Soviet occupation in its recent history, and with it the civil war between Soviet army units (along with its local puppets) and the mujahedeen, which has also resonated in the global film industry (such as Rambo III or the agent 007 in The Living Daylights). But those who are well acquainted with the situation at the end of the Second World War on Slovenian soil will find many parallels. Before the partisans finally occupied (emptied) Ljubljana, where the so-called camp government had been sworn in a little earlier, tens of thousands of people marched towards Ljubelj and made their way to the other side of the Karawanks, where they received their first shelter in the Vetrinj camp. If they had stayed at home, nothing good would have happened to them in the rush since the victory of the drunken revolutionaries. For many years after the end of the war, members of the security services of the new communist government were looking for potential opponents who had to disappear forever. The description of the refugee route in 1945 can be found in many books, such as Slovenia 1945 (J. Cornsellis, M. Ferrar), Ob babilonskih rekah (Alojz Rebula), Otroci s Petrička (Ivan Ott), etc. And unfortunately, the assumption that there will be no mercy for non-revolutionaries was confirmed by the fact that the West at that time played a dirty role in the repatriation of members of the Slovenian National Army from Vetrinje through various paths into the hands of Tito’s partisans. And this with deception, as they were told to go to Italy.
This was followed by a bloody slaughter, which is now witnessed by more than 600 communist slaughterhouses, most of which are still unregulated. About a year ago, for example, I visited one of the slaughterhouses in the immediate vicinity of the Sava, namely at Dobova (Mostec), where the remains of more than ten thousand victims lie! Namely, many people were taken there, who were first taken to Teharje, and from there they were then taken by train to the southeast and new and new prisoners were picked up at intermediate stations. The excavation of only a part of the ditch, where the remains of the victims of the revolution are located (leg prostheses were also seen), was a kind of necessity due to the beginning of the construction of the new Mokrica hydroelectric power plant. It is obvious, however, that no one will dig the rest of the ditch, at least in the near future. Maybe also because there are a lot of Croats in there? In any case, if you ask about these slaughterhouses today, the propagandists will quickly explain to you that there are members of the elite German division Prinz Eugen and their Slovenian helpers. Of course, how should the average Slovene know that the members of this division never fought on Slovene soil, but were perhaps only there on holiday? But it sounds impressive that the Slovene partisans – so agitprop – could not be broken by any military machine of Greater Germany.
As has already been said: at the end of the war, the then Western Allies played a very dirty role in the repatriation of prisoners to countries where communist revolutionaries took power. Understandably, given that after the operation of Barbarossa in the summer of 1941, a kind of unprincipled coalition was formed between the West and the Soviet Bolsheviks, and Churchill allegedly even stated that in the fight against the Axis powers he was willing to make a treaty with the devil if necessary. This is also why the Western Allies pressured the Yugoslav royal government, which had fled to London (and obtained distorted information through information channels controlled by the Comintern), to conclude an agreement with Stalin’s branch in Yugoslavia. This happened in 1944 with the Šubašić-Tito agreement, but it was only one of the episodes in the deception that came to light only later. For example, when the Yugoslav communist authorities sentenced “English spies” to death (remember Nagodet’s trial and the conviction of Ljubo Sirc). At that time, the Cold War had already begun, which was most manifested on our soil in the Trieste issue.
However, at that time the West was already a little more aware and quickly set the limit of the danger coming from the east. However, pragmatism combined with harsh realpolitik continued to prevail: when the Tito-Stalin schism broke out in 1948, Yugoslavia repeatedly received financial “gifts” from the West (despite the fact that its regime violated human rights to a similar extent as that in Moscow) – this fact was pointed out 40 years after the Informbiro schism in the Palace of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg by the then dissident Dr France Bučar, who called on the West to stop maintaining a clinically dead patient on the apparatus. However, the West persisted until the bitter end, and in June 1991 the holders of the then European Community offered a financial reward to the last Yugoslav Prime Minister, Ante Marković, if Slovenia and Croatia gave up their path to independence. The both republics, like Marković, were wagged with isolation, saying that Europe does not tolerate separatism and secessionism – although it is true that the then US Secretary of State James Baker said something a few days before Slovenia’s independence that the Belgrade coup completely missed: that the US will not tolerate the use of force against both republics, as they want a democratic Yugoslavia. The Americans, who at the time were more concerned with their military project in the Persian Gulf, did not realise that you cannot introduce a single democracy in a country divided into several nations and republics, and it combined two civilizational incompatible parts, this were the south of Austria-Hungary and the former European part of the Ottoman Empire.
It is these facts that explain the West’s impotence in Afghanistan somewhat more. The US had two bad options: either it continues to persist in a country that has been considered a crisis for more than a century, or it withdraws and leaves power entirely to the Taliban. This also showed the weakness of the current US president, which only increased the discomfort with the fact that “the ass is always behind, no matter how you turn” – if Americans are world cops, it is wrong, if they stop being, it is all wrong again. However, it must be acknowledged, at least, that it was the determination of the Americans in the second half of the 1990s that helped to cut the Gordian knot of war in the Balkans after the United Nations failed there. And not only there, the “blue helmets” also failed in Rwanda, where its members could only silently observe how the killers with machetes beheaded their “class enemies”, i.e. members of another tribe and also their own, if necessary.
So in 1945, we got our “Taliban” in power. Who are the Slovenian Taliban today? I have a feeling that their core is in the Levica Party, where they continue to dream of a revolution, publicist Primož Lampič (HERE) recently pointed this out. However, they also have allies in other KUL parties and have announced without hesitation that they will continue to pursue a completely exclusionary policy. However, this is exactly what we can expect from this political option. The main danger, however, is that the political underworld, which is already using dirty tricks in using (on paper) independent institutions, would hijack the next election and establish a regime that will not be significantly better than that in Afghanistan. This danger is also greater today because of the great blindness of a considerable part of the European People’s Party, which is willing to give in to the interests of the European Socialists for some current benefit. This rotten compromise syndrome, of course, is not a phenomenon that would only be perceived in recent months, but has been present for many years. And it shows above all the misunderstanding of the situation in the former communist countries, where the liberation of social subsystems from the old para-state structures, to which the bearers of the communist regimes of Central European countries have moved, has not yet taken place. Slovenia currently holds the presidency of the European Union, but it is still in a very turbulent domestic political period, as the country is becoming hostage to the domestic version of the Taliban, who want to destroy everything just to achieve their power. And let’s not be fooled that they are not being willing to go that far, history has been able to teach us a lot so far.
Gašper Blažič is a journalist for Demokracija, a daily editor on the website demokracija.si and acting editor of the web portals Blagovest.si and Molitev.si.